25th September 2010, a magnificent day for Romania (Sep 29)

Maybe you wonder how did Let's do it Romania go? Here is how Nara Petrovič, a "neutral" observer from Slovenia has experienced the magnificent cleanup day ...


7:00

The night was short and after rising early Anca was nervous. "Oh, why do I have a bad hair day, today?!" she nagged. It took her a while to be happy with how she looked. She called a taxi and we rushed to the call center. The taxi driver was listening to the radio and in the radio news broadcast they spoke about the Let's do it project. Anca was happy because the report was objective and correct.

She mentioned to the driver she was a part of the team organizing it. The driver replied that's good and he added how he felt the event was well covered in the media. He had heard about it both on TV and on the radio. Yeah, sure, was Anca's quiet comment, reminding me of how we felt in Slovenia in the last weeks about the advertisements on TV -- to us it seemed there were very few but the people noticed them a lot.


8:00

in the HQ of the Let's do it Romania team I could feel how nervous everybody was, even from those few who were present in the office. It seemed all the core members were busy somewhere in and around the city. Two TV sets were on, one in each room, so we could catch any broadcast on the cleanup action.

The happenings remembered me of how badly I felt about the Estonian friends who came to participate in the Slovenian cleanup on April 17, but everybody was so busy we had little chance to dedicate some time to them. I sat in a room full of laptops and worked on the final report for the Slovenian action, keeping myself to the side not to disturb the busy Romanian team.


9:00

When the Moldavian girls Daniela and Nadia arrived they joined me in the office and the never marathon question/answer session contined from the previous two days. They came to see how the Romanian cleanup would go to learn for the cleanup they envisioned in their country. I shared with them all the Slovenian experiences I could, which was easy with all the support from the amazing vibes in the HQ of the Romanian action.

The girls went to see how the cleanup is going on and I stayed in the office.


11:00

The first feedbacks were already coming in and they were fantastic. Someone said, this team should not only clean but also lead the country. Another man wrote that a wonder has happened at the roand around town. There were very few volunteers in the office, most of them being somewhere around town with the cleaners or with the media.


14:00

Heikki and me bought something to eat for a few of us and some members came back to the office, some left again soon. I noticed a big difference in how the group behaved. At 9 a.m. everybody was very tense and nervous, at 2 p.m. they were relaxed and the joy was lurking from inside, not completely ripe and ready to burst out but still there. It seemed they didn't believe it yet -- this was it! It's hard, yes, it's hard to believe that this is the day you've been working for for many months and the success is obvious.

I continued to share whatever I could with the Moldavian girls and they were totally inspired. They told me they spoke on the phone with the Presidend, Minster of Environment and the Mayor of Chishinau to have a meeting soon. Soon turned out to be the next day! So they took the evening bus back home and as I have learned from them later, they had a meeting with the Vice minister of Environment and the Mayor. They promissed to give them an office for the project.


17:00

The event was coming to a closing. Reports were arriving from all over the country. In each region there were about 10.000 volunteers cleaning, the total number for the whole country stopped at about 150.000, but I believe that final results will raise the number to at least 200.000. At least 10-20% people came without registering in Slovenia, but in Romania I wouldn't be surprised if that percentage was even higher. A boy in the HQ told me young Romanians hate queues. If they see a queue they turn around and just go do something instead of waiting in the queue. So waiting in a queue for a bag might have turned them off -- not from cleaning, just from waiting for the cleaning to start!


20:00

The afternoon and evening news brought us images of people cleaning all over the country. They were listing funny things they found, fom what I could understand I noticed they used the word "mizeria" a lot and that word doesn't sound very nice, they complained about the vast amounts of waste, but they kept collecting them with a smile on their face.

A well known singer was interviewed and he said he believed there were at least 200.000 on the cleanup, he said a lot of very inspiring stuff, but I caught just a few sentences that someone translated for me. What mattered was the cheering and clapping by everyone around me in the office in approval of what he was saying.


From what I've seen the action was a big success. My subjective notion, when I compared the event with the Slovenian cleanup, was that they could have done even better, but who am I to say that? The situation in Romania is completely different to the one in Slovenia and I know the general awareness in Romania is lower than in Slovenia. 

Given the troublesome political situation and the overall social climate in the country their success was tremenduous!


23:00

The party was still gaining momentum! The core team was on the stage in Kulturhale center, sharing words of extatic enthusiasm with the croud. They seemed more connected than ever before. Later on some of the admitted that was lacking in the project -- more parties and inofficial events to create bonds in the team. I remembered how we struggled with that in Slovenia too, being busy, busy, busy. A party, a picnic, playing a game ... it doesn't matter what it is, such events should accompany all our actions to make them really successful.

I enjoyed talking to Mihai. He told me about his small town, where he never dreamed more that 10 people would come to clean. In the end more that 500 cleaned his birth town and he finds this totally fascinating. If this happened than anything is possible. He visited some cleanup points around town and he was amazed about the amounts of waste dragged from the nature by volunteers. He even felt ashamed when he saw how many forigners were ther ecleaning his country. He saw a seven year old boy dragging a big bag of waste out of the forrest. He saw people there he never thought he would ever see cleaning the waste. Everything is possible, indeed!

4:00

By the morning I was exhausted. We danced all night, drank a few beers or coctails, and totally relaxed enjoyed hugging eachother, jumping, singing ... What a wonderful way to simbolicaly end the project!

It is not over, of course. The team will have many things to do in the weeks to come to really wind the project up. But the main event is over and that's what matters the most. I know many felt like giving up, but I think the party has given them new strength and vision, their acheivement has made them believe they can do even better next time. If not sooner in 2012 when we'll all clean our countries together.


I went to sleep with a sweet aftertaste. Romania was cleaner, at least 1% of the population of the country has changed their attitude to waste, the polititians and social leaders have noticed the action and seen how seriously a civil initiative can influence the society, the seeds of the project are flying around Romania -- to Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldavia ... It gives me hope that we can actually pull off the Let's do it! World Cleanup 2012 with an unprecedented success.

Who are we, doing this? We are you and me, we are him and her, but also something beyond all of us individually. We are the all-extensive global civic community, we are everyone -- and thus the only "group" that can set things right on our planet. Being human, being alive, you cannot not join us, your only choice is between deciding to use your eyes for seeing, ears for hearing and hands for doing something, or deciding not to do it. From what I've seen in Romania and Slovenia the first choice does not only give you a sense of doing something good, in also brings immense joy and power. So the second is out of the question. Don't you agree?